Isolation and Relationships

So isolation is going well, 2 weeks in and I'm a sap already.

Isolation is not new to me. I'm used to working from home, not leaving the house, not seeing friends, not going to restaurants or cafes or pubs. I've had a decade to get used to missing out on those things. But I've always been able to see Ryan.

For the last 6 years he's given me a sense of normality, he's my link to a "normal" life. I think this is something everyone is craving at the moment so to have my last little piece of normal (temporarily) taken away is a difficult thing to process.

My M.E has taken much from me, but now I can't see Ryan because of an external threat to my health and it's taking me a while to come around to that fact. I'm having to isolate away from the person that makes me feel most safe, in order to stay safe. That's difficult.

I'm staying in the house, but my home is a person I now can't see.

I know he's not actually gone anywhere, he's still right there on the other end of the phone. But as much as I'm grateful for good morning texts and synchronised Netflix watching, it's just not the same. For someone who's love language is physical touch, it's not quite enough.

I miss waking up next to him, a cuddle from behind as I make us lunch, falling asleep holding his hand. I always actively appreciate these things, but now even more so. In times of stress and upheaval we crave comfort and security more than ever. He's mine.

There is so much fear going around at the moment, and rightly so. This rollercoaster of emotions doesn't play well with chronic illness, and my symptoms are flaring. My M.E doesn't care there are more pressing matters to be concerned over, it demands my attention nonetheless.

I'm still having to deal with these symptoms while isolated, but how long for? Will I be able to see him before summer? During summer? Please no longer.

I think what makes this more difficult is the unknown aspect of it all. It's strange not having a date in mind or a definitive number of weeks to count down. Those of us that are high risk (in the UK at least) have been told to isolate for 12 weeks, but with everything currently up in the air who knows what will happen.

I know that there are some healthcare, social care and service workers currently isolating away from their partners and children, and I recognise that this is different. I'm so grateful for all that they're doing. While there are so many big issues going on in the world, it seems trivial to complain about missing a cuddle. But I think now more than ever we all have a true appreciation for those little things. They're not so little after all are they?

Chronic illness has taken many things, yes, but if the last ten years has taught me anything it's gratitude for what I do have. I'm so grateful that I have something so good that it's difficult to be separated. I know not everyone has that, and that some of you reading will be without partners, have already spent years segregated away from yours, or are currently living with someone unsupportive or downright dangerous.

I also know that the fact I'm in a relationship between two cisgendered heterosexual individuals means it's safer for me to express my current feelings than it is for others. I'm so sorry if you're in a situation or environment where you can't safely or accurately express how this is affecting you.

I'm thinking of you all, and I do not take what I have for granted. I can promise you that.

It's difficult seeing people not take isolation or social distancing seriously, including government, because the longer they do that the longer I have to do this. Honestly it's heartbreaking enough already. I know it's a complex matter and not everyone is in a position to safely isolate, but please don't assume it's unnecessary or overreactive. There's a very real reason behind staying indoors. There's real people that depend on you doing so.

So many of us are giving up so much. Please don't make us have to do it for longer than necessary. I miss my person.